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Sugared Lemons and Limes

Recipe Level: Easy Recipes

Sugared lemons and limes are the perfect garnish for special desserts and pretty cakes! They are sweet and sour and are a fun twist for summer treats.

Baked by Alie Romano

Professional Baker and Recipe Developer

* For best results, read the entire article. Every step matters, and I’ll provide helpful tips along the way!

Sugared lemons

Sugared lemons and limes are a fun, zesty, sweet addition to brighten up desserts! They make an ordinary cake sparkle or a loaf twinkle and shine. It’s easy to dress up the plainest of treats with candied lemons and limes!

There are some days when baking is simple and comforting and other days when the kitchen becomes a playground of creativity while getting lost in recipes. Making sugared fruit is typically a slow day spent being creative; designing something extra special!

Sugared lemons
Sugared lemons


It’s best to use organic fruit when you’ll be consuming the entire fruit, skin and pulp.

  • Water
  • Granulated sugar & extra fine sugar
  • Organic lemons
  • Organic limes

Tips on Making Sugared Lemons and Limes

  1. Be careful not to slice your lemons and limes too thin. You want enough pulp within the citrus fruit to stay intact.
  2. Keep the thickness of slices as consistent as possible so they all boil at the same pace.
  3. Make sure to lightly simmer the pot of sugared water with your lemons (or limes) in it. If the water is boiling or simmering too hard it will break the pulp and tear open your lemons and limes.
  4. Use the widest pot you have so you can fit as many lemons (or limes) into the pot without overcrowding them. You want to avoid the fruit overlapping.
  5. Simmer the lemon and limes just until translucent. Be careful not to overdo it, if they simmer too long they will disintegrate. 
  6. Keep pressing the lemons in the sugar until they are no longer sticky. Some lemons will expel sugar juice, press them back into the sugar and flip them over to air dry.
  7. You can also use the same method to make sugared grapefruit and oranges.
Sugared lemons
Sugared lemons

How to Use Sugared Lemons and Limes

  1. Serve sugared lemons with black tea at bridal and baby showers
  2. Top on cakes and cupcakes
  3. Top on loaves
  4. Top on lemon squares
  5. Serve alongside a cocktail
  6. Add to a lemonade stand or cocktail bar

How to Make Sugared Lemons and Limes

The method is simple but a little time consuming; you have to be patient to boil and dry the lemons and limes before you sugar them. I like to make them a day or two ahead and let the lemons and limes air-dry overnight.

Step One: Wash, and slice lemons and limes.

Step Two: Bring two pots of water and sugar to a boil and then simmer on low. Add lemon slices to one pot and lime slices to the other pot. Simmer for approx. 20 minutes until lemons and limes are translucent.

Lemons and Limes

Step Three: Carefully remove the slices onto a cooling rack to air-dry.

Learn how to make sugared lemons and limes

Step Four: Once lemons and limes are dried, roll them in superfine sugar.

How To Make Sugared Lemons and Limes
Sugared Lemons and Limes

Sugared Lemons and Limes

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Sugared lemons and limes are the perfect garnish for special desserts and pretty cakes!

  • Author: Alie Romano
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Yield: 38 slices 1x
  • Category: candy
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Canadian


Units Scale
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large organic lemons
  • 3 organic limes
  • 1/2 cup extra fine sugar


  1. Wash lemons and limes, pat dry and thinly slice into approx. 1/8-1/4 inch slices. Make sure you don’t slice them too thin or you will lose the pulp as they boil.
  2. In one large pot add 2 cups of water and 1½ cups of the granulated sugar. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar has dissolved. In another large pot do the same, this is so you have one pot for the lemons and one pot for the limes.
  3. Lower to a simmer and add a layer of sliced lemons (don’t overcrowd them) to one pot and sliced limes in the other pot. Simmer lemons and limes for 20-25 mins or until translucent. Carefully transfer to a drying rack, lined with wax paper. Repeat until you’ve used all the lemon/lime slices.
  4. Let lemon and lime slices air-dry overnight (you can remove the wax paper at this point).
  5. Then press each slice into a bowl of extra fine sugar and place back on the drying rack. Let sugared lemons and limes dry for approx. 1 hour (depending on how sticky your slices are).


Store sugared fruit between pieces of waxed or parchment paper and place in a container with the lid ajar for 1 month.

Continue to re-sugar lemons as needed. Sometimes it takes 3-4 times.

Reserve syrup for another use.


  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 56
  • Sugar: 14g
  • Sodium: 0
  • Fat: 0
  • Saturated Fat: 0
  • Unsaturated Fat: 1mg
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 14.9g
  • Fiber: 0.3g
  • Protein: 0.1g
  • Cholesterol: 0

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I can’t wait to see what you’ve made! xo alie


How long do sugared lemons last?

Sugared lemons will last one month stored in a container, with the lid ajar (or leave them out on the counter). Place wax paper or parchment paper between layers and re-sugar lemons as needed.

How far in advance can I decorate a cake with sugared lemons?

As long as the cake isn’t in the refrigerator or covered (with a cake dome) you can decorate a cake with sugared lemons the same day at any point. Once the sugared lemons or limes are covered or have moisture around them they will begin to sweat and the sugar they are coated in will melt.

You may also like:

How to Make Sugared Fruit

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Karen Nashert
Karen Nashert
1 year ago

I am making your sugared berries for one of my cakes. For my other cake I want to make sugared lemons. On the berry recipe you said to use fine sugar but didn’t say what type of sugar to use for the lemons. Would you please reply I would really appreciate it. My aunt was a beautiful entertainer and she always made these for parties. I cannot wait to try your recipe and I will let you know how they work out!
Thank you!

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Alie Romano



I'm a professional baker, recipe developer & photographer behind Baking For Friends. I specialize in classic & comforting baking. I hope you enjoy the recipes & find inspiration of your own to bring your family & friends together over home-cooked food!

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